Saturday, December 22, 2007

Seasoned Eatings Recap

When Katie (A Thyme for Cooking) and I announced our Seasoned Eatings event this year I thought that maybe there would be about 5 or ten bloggers joining in to partake in the international gift giving. To my surprise, and surely due to Katie's brilliant and compelling blog, we had over 20 fabulous food bloggers join in the festivities!

While I hope you enjoy reading about everyone's special gifts here, I also hope you will take a moment to visit each bloggers post to hear the details of receiving and cooking with these new spices. Thank you to everyone who participated... I'm already trying to cook up another reason for gift giving in the coming months so if you had fun this time or weren't able to participate in this event stay tuned...
Let the round up begin!

The ever creative Carla from dessert-lounge received handmade sheep cheese with Greek oregano (Handpicked in Greece!!!) from Laurie at Tastes Like Home (Med Cooking). With these delicious ingredients she made a delicious looking oregano chicken. I hope you saved us leftovers, this looks incredible!

Darling Lisa from I've got Seoul received her delicious seasonings from Carla at Dessert Lounge. While we haven't seen the culinary creation that will certainly result, I have no doubt that Lisa will do these seasonings proud! We will stay tuned until the results are posted.

The amazing Meryl from My Bit of Earth received Korean red spice from Lisa at I've got Seoul. She promises to make up a nice batch of pre-Christmas munchies real soon at which point I'm sure she will share the delicious results. (so stay tuned!)

The very lucky Chris from Melecotte received many amazing things from Gattina of GattinaMia including: peppercorns, green olives, oregano, Jamon potato chips AND crackilng corn kernels with a unique (and translated) recipe from a Spanish magazine. The resulting open-faced sandwich with Spanish anchovies and peppercorns is still making me drool! There's another recipe, too...but you have to check her post to see it ;)

Betty from Cuisine Quotidian received some authentic Old Bay Seasoning straight from Chris at Melecotte. I cannot wait to see the final results but first take a look at the exciting package that arrived:

The lovely Jann from Traveling Food Lady received some beautiful spices from Betty of Cuisine Quotidian. She sauteed the lovely spices with some fresh winter squash which resulted in a unique new favorite!

The culinary genius Laurie from Med Cooking received gorgeous Italian sea salts seasoned with aromatic herbs from Jann of Traveling Food Lady which were promptly (and deliciously) turned into Ladenia (Olive oil bread with tomato-onion topping). YUM! Laurie was also kind enough to give us a bit of a lesson on Ladenia in her post, check it out!

The lovely Lannae from a Lannae's Food and Travel received jerk seasoning from Deb of Debs Wine and Garden. Not only does this chicken LOOK amazing, but it sounds amazing too! Check out Lannae's adorable post for the full story of how she made this yummy dish.

The talented Pamela from Zoomie Station received fermented black beans and asian style noodles from Lanne of Lannae's Food and Travel. Poor Pamela had quite a day and was thrilled to relax and enjoy this yummy looking (and surely tasting) dish.

I was lucky enough to have Katie herself as a secret santa which meant I received a beautiful and thoughtful gift. Straight from France arrived a beautifully packaged container of Quatre Epices (four spices?) which from what I can tell is made of clove, nutmeg, ginger, and some kind of pepper, along with some other authentic and delicious accouterments! With this beautiful package came a recipe for a traditional Alsatian cake that was unique and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Thank you to everyone who played along. There are a few remaining bloggers whose entries will be added as I receive them. The other half of this roundup can be found on the amazing Katie's site: A Thyme for Cooking right HERE!

Happy holidays and Seasoned Eatings to all.

Yule never believe what the daring bakers have done this time...

What do you get when you stick 4 Jews in the kitchen and ask them to create a traditional Christmas recipe? Sounds like the beginning to a good joke, huh? Nope. Just this month's daring bakers challenge!

I don't know what the best part of this months challenge was... It could have been the fact that it was a humongous hilarious disaster, or maybe because it was absolutely hysterical to cook with my sister in law and her boyfriend, or maybe because I learned that a sheet cake should cool completely before adding buttercream frosting and rolling it...

Really, the list could go on forever.

The moral of the story is this month's challenge will go down in Portnoy family history as the most entertaining cooking event thus far. Thanks daring bakers!

The good news is, it looked good after it sat in the fridge to cool overnight, and it actually kind of tasted good, too.

The best part was watching sis-in-law create an updated Mr. Bill and his girlfriend, representing multicultural diversity in true liberal fashion (Thank goodness for her *huge hugs*). And watching her boyfriend D make a nativity scene (can you find baby Jesus?) and a pitch fork carrying gnome, I mean really...does it get better?

Overall, it was an entertaining activity. I can honestly say a good time was had by all (caveat: in between my kitchen temper tantrums) and eating the final product was truly sweet success.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Theres always time for blondies....

Could it be? Am I really posting twice in a day? Really now, I shouldn't set such high expectations for myself but I couldn't resist sharing photos of the delicious treat I whipped up this morning for one of my most favorite faculty members birthdays.

Dark, milk and peanut butter chip blondies

After a brief online search for the perfect recipe, I decided to adapt a recipe I found several times and it was not only easy but fast, my favorite way to bake!

In fact, I would say it's 2 easy. And here's why: if you have 2 cups of brown sugar, 2 sticks of butter, 2 eggs, , 2 teaspoons of vanilla, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 2 cups of flour, and 2 cups (for a gluttonous result, use at your discretion!) of assorted chips (peanut butter, milk/dark chocolate) you are in business.

Add ingredients in order (first blending sugar and butter then add other ingredients) until you get to the flour. Stir flour in by hand and then add accoutrement's (chips) and you are in business. Pop it the bakers edge or a buttered/sprayed 9x13 pan in the oven at 350 for about 25-30 minutes and enjoy.

And just in case you beat me home, they are on the top shelf in the aluminum foil honey!

Family dinners

We were blessed to have G's sister and sis's boyfriend as visitors this weekend and between window admiring up fifth avenue, shoving our way to the tree at Rockefeller Center and me trying to tie up lose ends from this semester at work/school, we found time to create some scrumptious culinary delights.

Pan seared pumpkin gnocchi and sage butternut squash with roasted rosemary and garlic lamb chops

Because I know that our little feminist loves everything seasonal (especially squash) I adapted a favorite recipe by adding *pumpkin* gnocchi in lieu of the traditional type. It was beyond delicious, as evident by the speed at which we devoured it and the silence that accompanied!

Forgive this short post but stay tuned for the big daring bakers reveal later this week. Our house guests this weekend were instrumental in creating this months challenge, especially in the entertainment department.

Oh! Also, stay tuned for the big seasoned eatings reveal where my partner in crime and I show you all of the gifts that fellow bloggers sent around the globe and the resulting delicious creations. It's a big week =)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Warm winter meals

Just because the weather has turned and we are all bundled up in our poofy coats down to our ankles does not mean we have to skimp out on the remnants of healthy eating from a few short months ago, right? That's what I keep trying to tell myself!

Wilted Spinach Salad with Caramelized Red Onions, Farmers Cheese, Adirondack Blue Potatoes and Salmon Glazed with Dijon and Dill

Although the howling wind and my freezing fingertips tell me otherwise, I am determined to at least try to create comforting meals that have some semblance of healthful benefits! And that is precisely where this little concoction came from... I admit, this was our lunch on Sunday and I'm only just now getting to post about it, but it is much easier than it sounds and is a great way to keep some vitamins in your diet when the only thing that really sounds appetizing is mashed potatoes and soup! (Not that they too don't have a myriad of healthful benefits)

We were lucky enough to find some fresh baby spinach at the farmers market last weekend. (Clearly they have a greenhouse!) and along with the usual root veggies the red onions hopped into my basket with the farmer's cheese and adirondack blues (i think they're purple!). It's the same recipe for the salad that I've shared before with the addition of garlic roasted potatoes (from last nights dinner, sliced and sauteed to make them crispy again) and salmon (I caved and went to Whole Foods, don't judge me!). The salmon is the best invention ever. Kosher salt, pepper, slather on some dijon, sprinkle some dill, broil for about 15 minutes et voila! Another creation worthy of a glass of pinot....or maybe just some hot chocolate!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

What we've been up to is 1, 2, 3....

1: Our first snow!!!

How exciting for little Lola to romp around with her boyfriend Hudson and enjoy this wonderful treat:

2: The second night of the holiday of light

Thanks to sister Stef for getting us this adorable Menorah as a wedding gift several years back. The tulips and lady bugs make me smile:

3: Just three ingredients and 15 minutes to a homemade cookie (thank goodness for my amazing friend Amanda at CrazyMomQuilts/Cooks)

No, I did not stutter. These delicious cookies were in my mouth about 15 minutes after I decided to make them and yes, they were cooked!

So easy I think Lola might be able to make them:

1 c. peanut butter (we use chunky)
1 c. sugar (i used 1/2 brown 1/2 reg.)
1 egg

preheat oven to 350. mix ingredients. place on a cookie sheet. press down with fork to make cute grooves. bake for 10-12 minutes. eat!

But of course we had to go a little nuts and add some dark chocolate because, really, isn't everything better with a bit of chocolate?

It's been a busy few weeks around our house, but please stay tuned for the big round up from our super successful and exciting Seasoned Eatings contest!